When people think of orthodontics, it is usually a mouth full of braces. In recent times plastic aligners. Yet, at the end of a person’s orthodontic treatment comes a retainer, which may seem like an afterthought. Your new smile will need keeping in place after treatment has finished. In this post, we’ll take you through why you need an orthodontic retainer. And the different retainer types. Let’s get going.
People Also Ask
- How does orthodontic retainer work?
A retainer works to keep the teeth in their new post-treatment setting. This will be for at least 6 months after treatment completion.
- Do you have to wear a retainer forever?
In most cases, the minimum would be 6 months. After which you may need to wear them only at night. Fixed retainers will always stay on for life.
The Orthodontic Retainer
The retainer serves an important function. This piece of hardware ensures that your teeth don’t move back to their old positions once the braces come off. As with any piece of orthodontic hardware that is in the line of duty, so to speak, a retainer will wear out.
If you or your family members are at this stage in your orthodontic work, read on. We will explain the different types of retainers. We’ll also explain how long you can expect a removable retainer to last
Bonded or Permanent Retainers
If you’re familiar with retainers at all, it’s likely that it’s the Hawley that you know best. This piece of equipment consists of an acrylic piece that fits the roof of the patient’s mouth. A heavy wire attached to the retainer keeps the front six teeth in place. Sometimes, there is an extra piece of plastic/acrylic over the wire. This is form-fitted to your teeth. Thus making the fit extra snug.
This type of retainer is very hearty. A permanent retainer can start to wear out after three years. The Essix retainer, more on this kind below can wear out after six months. The Hawley retainer is usually good to go for at least five years. And, it has in some cases lasted up to 10 years.
The Hawley retainer is usually good to go for at least five years.
Your ortho should also give you a carrying case for this kind of retainer. It’ll help to keep your retainer clean and to protect it from harm when it’s not in your mouth. Finally, the carrying case will serve as a visual reminder. You are less likely to throw your retainer away if you put it in the case. That is not always the case if you stow your retainer in a napkin to eat in a restaurant.
This kind of retainer looks a bit like the Invisalign aligner. In that, it’s a clear plastic piece that you place onto your teeth. Much like a mouth guard worn in sports like football or boxing. You have a pretty good idea of what this type of retainer looks like.)
The Essix retainer appeals to people who need to wear their retainer on a regular basis. Up to 22 hours a day, after their treatment concludes. Because it is clear plastic, it is more difficult to see. Thus, less obtrusive than a retainer with a fitted metal piece.
These retainers have a downside. Over time, they will crack or even break with wear and tear. A good dose of very hot water will also distort the shape of this kind of orthodontic apparatus. They also must remain clean. Always take care before you place them in your mouth. You can expect this type of retainer to last up to three years. it can begin to wear out after six months.
Final Thoughts on How Long Retainers Last
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The Schulhof Center
400 Kinderkamack Rd.
Oradell, NJ 07649
Dr Schulhof graduated with high honours from the University of Medicine and Dentistry of New Jersey and received his specialty training from Columbia University.
His early interest in lingual orthodontics has led to him becoming the top provider for Incognito in the U.S. and the world. Dr Schulhof was part of the LingualCare Clinical Advisory Board and is now a Key Opinion Leader for 3M and Incognito. He has presented lectures on lingual orthodontics throughout the U.S. and worldwide. Dr Schulhof is also active in research and development and was a major contributor to the development of Incognito Lite. Recently, New Jersey Orthodontist Dr Schulhof has opened a satellite practice in NYC.